CLEVELAND -- It is a growing concern among many of the Northeast Ohio charities -- families going hungry.
"We want anyone that needs help this Christmas season to come to the Salvation Army on Monday," said Major Lurlene-Kay Johnson, with the Salvation Army.
The Salvation Army expects over 3,000 families to sign up for their Christmas Assistance program on Nov. 19 in Cuyahoga County alone.
"We are seeing more and more people come in from the suburbs, in fact, the suburbs are seeing a 75 percent increase of people living below the poverty level," the Major added.
At least 1 in 4 children are at or below the poverty line here in Cuyahoga County. The Salvation Army wants to raise at least 25,000 toys to give to those children.
Mike Holmgren and the Cleveland Browns have also seen the need to help. They have jointly donated $20,000.00 to the Salvation Army to help the needy.
But there is a greater need, the need for food. The federal government is slashing food benefits this year and the cuts will be deep.
It is because of last year's winter was mild and electrical power bills were so low. The government uses a formula based on utility bills and, come January 90,000 local families could lose up to $50 a month in food stamps.
It is a thought Anne Goodman, the President and CEO of the Cleveland Foodbank, can't live with.
"I think about those children who will not grow appropriately without proper nutrition and when I think of the problem getting worse, it breaks my heart. With cuts like these, I don't know how we are going to do it. Real families, real children are going to be directly impacted by this soon."
More and more families are hurting financially and a bigger burden will be placed on local food banks.
According to Michelle Hilton, with the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, an eight-county area could lose up to $120 million annually, bringing the need to donate to an all-time high.
"At the rate we are going, we are going to be falling behind and we have a community that needs to help us to make sure that we don't fall behind." Goodman adds.
Items that you can donate to your local charity are:
Canned Vegetables such as beans, greens, carrots, potatoes, and tomato products
Canned meals like stew or chili
Paper Products like towels, facial tissue and toilet paper.
If you prefer to make a financial donation, every dollar donated to the Cleveland Food Bank and Akron-Canton Foodbank can feed up to 4 people.
Click The Salvation Army, The Cleveland Food Bank and Akron-Canton Foodbank for a more detailed list on what your area needs.